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The cauldron: Islam and Hip-Hop in Europe

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

A comprehensive overview of the state of Hip Hop Diplomacy across the pond from one of my most admired mentors, Dr. Hisham Aidi (via one of my favorite observers of the Arab street, Jackson Allers & World Hip Hop Market)

The cauldron: Islam and Hip-Hop in Europe

The debate over Islam and hip hop in Europe is heating up as governments wade in.

Farah Pandith, the US State Department special representative to Muslim communities, has argued that hip hop can convey a ‘different narrative’ to counter the foreign ‘violent ideology’ [GALLO/GETTY]

By Hishaam Aidi (published first on Al Jazeera.com)

New York, NY – Three months ago, just as the French presidential campaign was heating up, the rapper Kery James uploaded a track titled “Letter to the Republic” (“Lettre à la République“) explaining what he and youth in the banlieues thought of the republic’s political class, or as he described them, “Pillagers of wealth, murderers of Africans, torturers of Algerians / The colonial past is yours, you chose to link your history to ours.”

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VVD Back in the Bijlmer

June 19, 2010 Leave a comment

A follow-up to last week’s post about the VVD (center-right Dutch political party) and their chicken-politicin’ in the Bijlmer neighborhood of Amsterdam, here’s a video from Bijlmer’s own, Gikkels, in response to a politician’s recent description of the neighborhood as a “primitive caveman culture“.

Selected translations below:

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A (fried) chicken in every pot x Dutch elections

June 13, 2010 2 comments

Last week, in the run-up to the national elections in the Netherlands, VVD Party (People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy) representatives could be found in the predominantly black and immigrant Amsterdam neighborhood, the Bijlmer, handing out fried chicken and promoting the party’s “mo money” agenda.

I came across this parody of the shameless vote-mongering on Youtube (much respect to www.maxvanderburg.nl). Selected quotes below (thanks to khouya Khalid for the co-pro).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the VVD did extremely well in Bijlmer and other economically-depressed neighborhoods, though not everybody in the video seems amused (see the Moroccan dude at about 1:30 who grabs the would-be-VVD rep’s glasses and promptly shows him the way to the metro).

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Salah Edin goes to Mali for Islamic Relief

In case anyone out there ever doubted the deep huminatarian commitment of Dutch-Moroccan rapper Salah Edin, here’s a 2-part video covering his recent trip to Mali on behalf of the Islamic Relief Project, during which he visited different development projects, from water wells to schools, milk factories to widows creating small businesses with micro credit loans. This is the same dude who pissed off a whole country of Dutch Islamophobes by turning the mirror on their ugly fear in his debut single “Het Land Van [This Country Of]” and then later by using a faux mugshot for his album cover, which a major newspaper and right-wing politician both mistook for the convicted Muslim killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.

I guess Salah is growing up and mellowing out, though his recent video for “Tfoe/Fuck” would suggest otherwise. Nevertheless, the man showed love and support last month for his fellow Africans, under the aegis of an Islamic NGO, and I would like to formally recognize his efforts. We need more artists, especially in Hip Hop, standing up publicly for the causes that matter to them, not to mention challenging the stereotypes that politicians and the media perpetuate for their own profit. Did someone say SalahShadia collabo…???

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